Education & Family

Leicester University offers students paid internships

Professional women handshake
Image caption The University of Leicester wants its internship scheme to help students compete in a global jobs market

A leading university is offering up to 500 paid internships to undergraduates.

The University of Leicester says they will be available to students based in the UK or EU starting degree courses in 2014 and will last up to 12 weeks each.

The aim is to give students insight into what employers want from recruits and to compete in a global jobs market.

"Crucially we want our students to be able to adapt to the challenges they face when they leave", said career development manager Raj Patel.

'Talent pipeline'

The university says the scheme will be the first of its kind offered by any top-20 higher education institution in the UK.

All the internships will pay the equivalent of £12,000 to £16,000 a year pro rata, says the university.

Some will be within the university's own departments, others will be in the private sector.

Bob Athwal, director of career development, said a growing number of employers were using student internships "to feed their talent pipeline".

The new scheme will involve an application and selection process, with a programme of workshops to help students prepare.

The university has promised the interview process will provide "every campus-based home or EU student with an opportunity during their degree".

Mr Athwal says this idea is to showcase "a rich pool of talent" among Leicester undergraduates.

The graduate jobs market has been tight in recent years.

Figures produced by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) in July this year forecast a 4% fall in graduate vacancies, with leading UK employers reporting an average of 85 applications for each job.

A separate survey of more than 18,000 university leavers, published in June, suggested graduates who had had internships were three times more likely to get jobs.

The study by High Fliers research found that more than one in three students had completed work experience or internships with a prospective employer.

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